European Agenda 2013 2014

Existing frameworks for supporting the green economy

The European Commission and European Council have released their work plans for 2013-2014, each with a focus on getting Europe back on track to sustainable growth. Many of the future actions of the Commission have been outlined in past communications and strategies; with the ‘Europe 2020 Strategy for Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth’, the Resource Efficient Europe, Industry and Innovation Union flagship initiatives, the EU has set itself ambitious goals for a greener economy. Both the European Commission and the European Council have strongly indicated their intentions to stay the course.

The Single Market Act-II and Industry Communication, both of which were published last year, outline actions to be taken, with key proposals in new industrial support measures (especially in resource efficiency) and initiatives on energy-technologies and smart-grids. The Commission has also outlined that it will seek to reinforce co-operation with Member States to help enact the Energy Efficiency Directive and Energy Labelling Directive and Ecodesign legislation.

The Commission's legislative intentions

The Commission’s annual work plan though goes into greater detail on intended actions for the remainder of 2013 and into the first half of 2014. The Commission’s main aims are in reviving industrial growth, reforming the Single Market, developing European networks and enhancing Economic and Monetary Union. The Commission does note though that growth must be sustainable and, “shaped by the needs and opportunities of resource efficiency.”

“A lack of long-term frameworks holds back planning and investment, most obviously on a climate and energy framework beyond 2020, but also on long term sustainable use of key resources such as air, soil, energy, water, fish and biomass,” writes the Commission. It therefore intends to outline a framework for energy and climate matters up to 2030 and review waste legislation to look into new markets, re-use and recycling.

An accompanying Annex draws out legislative intentions, of which the following have sustainability concerns (where provided by the Commission, extra information has been linked to):

Energy technologies and innovation in a future European energy policy;
Reforming the internal market for industrial products;
- Review of EU political and legal framework for organic production;
EU’s strategy on adaptation to climate change;
New climate and energy framework for the period up to 2030;
Review of the thematic strategy on air pollution and associated legislation;
- Review of waste policy and legislation;
- Environmental climate and energy assessment framework to enable safe and secure unconventional hydrocarbon extraction.

The Annex also outlines intentions for simplification and ‘regulatory-burden reduction’ measures, including:

- Initiative on the electronic processing of declarations of performance under the Construction Products Regulation;
- Amending the fees and charges payable to the European Chemicals Agency pursuant to the REACH regulation.

The full cache of documents for 2013 is available here.

European Council Summits 2013-2014

The European Council is expecting to hold thematic discussions in the coming months regarding topics that are of key economic importance, and that feed into the Europe 2020 strategy. The descriptions below are quoted from the Conclusions from the March 2013 European Council Summit:

  • Energy (22 May 2013): work is ongoing on the completion of the Internal Energy Market and on interconnections with European energy markets. No EU Member State should remain isolated from the European gas and electricity networks after 2015. Europe needs investment in modern energy infrastructure and the challenge of high energy prices which hamper competitiveness needs to be tackled; 

  • Industrial competitiveness and policy (27 June 2013 and February 2014): stressing the importance of making Europe more competitive as a place of production and investment, the European Council looks forward to the follow up to the Commission's recent communications on industrial policy and on specific industrial sectors as well as to the timely presentation of the Commission's further input for this discussion: the report on European competitiveness, the report on the implementation of industrial policy priorities and the conclusions of the review of the single market for industrial products;

  • Innovation (24 October 2013): the European Council looks forward to the presentation by the Commission of its European Research Area progress report as well as its communication on the "State of the Innovation Union 2012", including the single innovation indicator, in time for its discussions; 

Information regarding these policy areas will be posted on the Greenovate! Europe website, as and when they become available throughout the year. 

For more information, contact Simon Hunkin